Two men indicted in incident at Coast Guard gate

Christopher Coward (left), James Deese (right)

Two men in a car that crashed into a Coast Guard gate as they fled from Charleston police officers in July were indicted on federal charges this week.

Christopher Coward, 23, of Belton, and James Van Deese, 20, address unknown, are charged with being felons in possession of a firearm that had been shipped and transported in interstate and foreign commerce, according to the federal grand jury indictment. Specifically, the firearm was a Kel-Tec .380-caliber handgun with ammunition. Coward also is charged with damaging federal property.

Early in the morning on July 3, officers from the Charleston Police Department started chasing an OnStar-equipped car that had been stolen in Lexington County. The car sped down Tradd Street toward the Coast Guard base.

At the time, the police said the car then rammed the base gate. Its two occupants jumped out and tried to hide under a dock.

Local authorities arrested Coward on state charges of unlawful possession of a handgun, possession of a stolen motor vehicle and failure to stop for a blue light. Deese was charged with unlawful possession of a handgun.

Those charges are still pending.